WAPAKONETA — The bar is set high at Wapakoneta.
The Redskins have won four consecutive Western Buckeye League championships, and the seniors who have been a part of that success still have big things ahead of them.
At this past weekend’s Division II district tournament at Bowling Green State University, the four Wapakoneta seniors advanced to this week’s state tournament. The state tournament is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State.
As a team, Wapakoneta finished fifth at the district tournament. The top four placers at the district tournament qualified for the state tournament.
John Martin (third at districts, 106-pound weight class), Holden Hengstler (second, 170), Alec Brown (second, 195) and Nate Valentine (third, 145) will compete in Columbus.
Martin, a four-time state qualifier, is hoping to cap off his final appearance at the state tournament with his best performance ever. Last year, Martin went 1-2 at the state tournament.
For the other three seniors, this will be the first time they have competed at the state tournament.
“We’ve only taken four qualifiers … it will be the third time, one year we took five,” Wapakoneta coach Jason Rostorfer said. “So, we’re right there. We’re in one of the best district tournaments. So, we exceeded our expectations.”
Brown, who lost a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Lexington’s Josh Lehner in the district finals, said he could not think of any better way to cap off his senior season.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to go for a state title. So to be able to get to state with guys I’ve wrestled with for all of these years is a dream come true.”
Added Rostorfer, “Our four seniors have had great careers and they’re going to finish it down in Columbus together. And that’s what we focused on all year. It’s just exciting to watch these guys reach their goals, especially when you get all four seniors out. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Pauff set for title run
Elida’s Nick Pauff won the title at 132 at the BGSU Division II district. Pauff, a senior, is making his first appearance at the state tournament.
Pauff had a solid run this season, winning the WBL title, sectional title and now the district title.
Plaugher in first state appearance
Shawnee’s Kane Plaugher (132) will be making his first appearance at the state tournament. Plaugher was second at the BGSU sectional and fourth at the BGSU district tournament.
Area Division II state wrestling qualifiers
Coach: Kevin Bowers
Nick Pauff (Sr., 132, 36-1)
Coach: Scott Tressler
Heath Lange (Jr., 138, 37-4)
L.J. Henderson (Jr., 160, 20-4)
Coach: Joshua Inglis
Kane Plaugher (Sr., 132, 26-4)
Coach: Jason Rostorfer
John Martin (Sr., 106, 34-6)
Nate Valentine (Sr., 145, 38-7)
Holden Hengstler (Sr., 170, 22-7)
Alec Brown (Sr., 195, 34-5)